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06-25-2007, 03:56 AM   #1
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Slides - Scan or Copy?

Hullo All!

Can anyone advise me - which is a better option: To scan slides using a high end (but not drum) scanner like the Nikon 8000/Canon 4000 series or digitze the slides with a K10D (any other body?) using a slide duplicator or bellows mounted macro lens?

Thank you in advance!

06-25-2007, 06:28 PM   #2
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It depends on how many slides you have or plan to scan.
If you only need to scan a few dozen, do it with the bellows/macro lens. I got some pretty good results that way with a point/shoot digital a few years ago. The K10 would be even better. The most difficult part is getting the lighting right.
If you have hundreds or thousands, then definately get the fixed film scanner, like the Nikon or the Minolta. I have an older HP film scanner that I love and it really does great scans at 2600 dpi. That has proven to be good enough for 13 x 19 prints.

Walt
06-25-2007, 09:03 PM   #3
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A carefully presented answer from an old lurker...

QuoteOriginally posted by Khukri Quote
Hullo All!

Can anyone advise me - which is a better option: To scan slides using a high end (but not drum) scanner like the Nikon 8000/Canon 4000 series or digitze the slides with a K10D (any other body?) using a slide duplicator or bellows mounted macro lens?

Thank you in advance!

I started to answer this earlier, then deleted my reply without submitting. Partly this action was to check facts and partly because you really need to provide some additional information:

How many slides?
What type of film?
How are they mounted?
What output quality do you desire.
What equipment do you have?

Assuming you want the best quality output there are significant considerations for both methods. Result can be comparable and essentially equivalent once these considerations are addressed.

In the slide duplication/duplicator tube method you have lighting considerations including the need for filters that match lighting and film much like in a color enlarger, crop factor limitations and some smaller problems that can be googled.

In the dedicated film scanner method time is a big consideration--there is both a significant learning curve for scanning as well as actual time of processing. Resolution is the next consideration: it may say 4000ppi/dpi but that is far from optimal.

Both methods result in some loss of dynamic range; and therein lies another consideration: what down-stream post processing will be applied?

This is a 'can of worms' question whose most significant pitfall would be taking 'off-the-cuff/anecdotal advice', i.e. something 'quick and dirty' that was tried for just a handful of slides and for which 'adequate' results might have been achieved. Unless your needs are similarly modest.

I've got a duplicator tube/stage, filters, lights and several thousands of frames experience DUPING both film and digital. I've also got a dedicated film scanner and several thousands of frames experience with that process. I find it quite amusing when I see one method touted over the other by someone with only a few dozen frames experience; it's even more humorous when they present the results.
06-25-2007, 11:20 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by jfdavis58 Quote
................I find it quite amusing when I see one method touted over the other by someone with only a few dozen frames experience; it's even more humorous when they present the results.
Anyone game ?????????

06-25-2007, 11:46 PM   #5
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Okay i'll bite.

QuoteOriginally posted by Rolly Quote
Anyone game ?????????
I have had a large amount of experience using a scanner for film, and the main issue is the time that it takes, in my experience, but then again i am scanning 67 and 5x4 neg and slides so it takes quiet awhile, but on the other hand if i was doing a large number and quality was of the utmost consideration, i wouldn't hesitate to spend a week in front of the scanner.

Though i have seen good results from DSLR and slide copier, though not in a large enough quantity to really say for certain but the biggest issue i noted was getting an even light source and colour balancing.
06-26-2007, 02:56 AM   #6
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Thank you so much for the touble of such a detailed reply. Answers to your questions are embedded in your text, below:

How many slides? - Say about 2000 in 35mm and another 1000 in 645/67 format.
What type of film? - Essentially Velvia 50 and Provia 100.
How are they mounted? - 25% are mounted in cardboard and plastic mounts, the rest are strips.
What output quality do you desire. - Pretty good by professional standards as possibly are yours.

Or, let me put it another way: Most of my photography has been done in the 'Inner Line'. (Regions in the upper Himalayas between 10,000 and 22,000 feet on the Indo-Chinese, Indo-Tibet, Indo-Burmese, Indo-Bhutan and Indo-Pakistan borders.) From there I have a collection of high alpine flora, butterflies and landscapes - including aerial pictures. Due to politico-military compulsions, hardly anybody is ever permitted to enter the 'Inner Line', much less photograph it. To that extent many of these photos should prove uncommon. Also, I believe some of the buttterflies/flowers/birds I have shot are rare/endangered species and I would like to use these pictures suitably at sometime...

What equipment do you have? - I take it you are asking about duplicating eqpt: Virtually nil barring a Soligor slide duplicatior with a Canon FD mount.

Awaiting further advice...

Sincerely,
Bharat.
06-26-2007, 04:05 AM   #7
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I have used both the nikon Coolscan a fairly high end model and the Epson 4990 (i think) model, both produce good results, i think that a great many of your slides are unmounted you would be better off using a scanner instead of a copier of the camera.
06-26-2007, 06:33 AM   #8
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Information addendum...

QuoteOriginally posted by Khukri Quote
Thank you so much for the touble of such a detailed reply. Answers to your questions are embedded in your text, below:

How many slides? - Say about 2000 in 35mm and another 1000 in 645/67 format.
What type of film? - Essentially Velvia 50 and Provia 100.
How are they mounted? - 25% are mounted in cardboard and plastic mounts, the rest are strips.
What output quality do you desire. - Pretty good by professional standards as possibly are yours.

Or, let me put it another way: Most of my photography has been done in the 'Inner Line'. (Regions in the upper Himalayas between 10,000 and 22,000 feet on the Indo-Chinese, Indo-Tibet, Indo-Burmese, Indo-Bhutan and Indo-Pakistan borders.) From there I have a collection of high alpine flora, butterflies and landscapes - including aerial pictures. Due to politico-military compulsions, hardly anybody is ever permitted to enter the 'Inner Line', much less photograph it. To that extent many of these photos should prove uncommon. Also, I believe some of the buttterflies/flowers/birds I have shot are rare/endangered species and I would like to use these pictures suitably at sometime...

What equipment do you have? - I take it you are asking about duplicating eqpt: Virtually nil barring a Soligor slide duplicatior with a Canon FD mount.

Awaiting further advice...

Sincerely,
Bharat.
You are looking at a significant investment of time: both already spent in capturing the images and to be spent in duplication. You are also talking high intrinsic value of the images themselves--invest in several pairs of lintless white cotton gloves! I have a Nikon Coolscan Ved; I would not hesitate to use and recommend this scanner for this task-seems like an ideal match!

Speed is largely a factor of the computer you use to drive the scanner and the USB connection. Expect to scan 6 to 10 frames per hour on average. There is no high-speed firewire; firewire will not be faster.

I would aim for an 8 to 10 mega pixel scan; 25-30 megabytes per file in 8-bit mode, double for 16 bits. This is very near the optimal settings for the Ved, suitable for excellent digital archiving and prints up to about 13 by 19 inches.

Large storage capability will be needed (DVD/CD or high-cap HDD). One to two gigabytes RAM is sufficient.

Nikon has not (yet) updated the drivers, an XP operating system will be necessary on a PC. I also suggest (in the strongest fashion) Ed Hamrick's Vuescan Pro scanner driver ($80.00US)-much greater flexibility (especial in DR recovery)!

RE: the Ved: You will loose some of Velvia's vibrance; recovery in post processing is marginal--very much operator skill dependent. One might consider a Velvia 'action' from somebody like Fred Miranda. Provia scanning will be problematic in very high saturation blues and purples. From both films expect a tendency to need post adjustment of clear blue skies. Reds and yellows (and of course green) will rival or exceed the best digital cameras.

If your ultimate output is print, scan a dozen or so and get them printed. Make any scanner adjustments from the prints and not from the computer monitor. A color managed workflow is absolutely paramount!



Edit: The above applies primarily to 35mm format and my experience with same. The Coolscan 9000 would be required for larger film formats. There is little reason to suspect (no large body of negative experiences exists) or imply it's scanning performance would be anything other than equally excellent.


Last edited by jfdavis58; 06-26-2007 at 07:22 AM.
06-26-2007, 11:23 PM   #9
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Dear Mr Davis,

Thank you once again!

I need some elucudation/more spoon feeding, please...!

1. I take it the Nikon Coolscan V caters only to 35mm. And the 9000 costs a bomb! So what do I do with 67 slides?

2. "I would aim for an 8 to 10 mega pixel scan; 25-30 megabytes per file."
I am not sure I understand - Does it mean that a 8-10 MP scan converts to a 25-30MB file when saved in TIFF?

3. "Nikon has not (yet) updated the drivers, an XP operating system will be necessary on a PC."
I have a Win 2000 and find it to be a very stable OS. Is XP necessarily a better option?

4. "I also suggest (in the strongest fashion) Ed Hamrick's Vuescan Pro scanner driver ($80.00US)"
You have lost me here. I am clueless about the Vuescan driver you recommend. May I know how it will prove more useful than the proprietary driver offered by the scanner?

5. ..."much greater flexibility (especial in DR recovery)!"
What is DR recovery?

6. "RE: the Ved: You will loose some of Velvia's vibrance; recovery in post processing is marginal--very much operator skill dependent. One might consider a Velvia 'action' from somebody like Fred Miranda."
Losing Velvis's vibrancy will be a crying shame. What options are there to retain it? Maybe some other scanner? And what is Velvia action by Fred Miranda? (Again, absolutely no idea about this.)

7. "Provia scanning will be problematic in very high saturation blues and purples. "
Ah! The skies of upper Ladakh and Arunachal on the Tibetan borders are out of is world!! (Uncommon shades of blue tending to midnight purple with a polariser.) Anything you could suggest? How do I go about trying to recover the loss using Photoshop?

Sincerely,
Bharat.
06-27-2007, 01:05 AM   #10
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I use the Canon 8400F scanner and Ive got good results with it, although when scanning and converting to digital, its very hard to duplicate film quality. I used my scannner to display my East Africa photos from 1990 onto my website. I did have to do post processing on all the scanned images before I uploaded them to my webpage. Once the film image is converted into digital by scanning, it can be processed like any other digital image. Scanning is a tedious process, especially when taking the post processing into account, but it does work well often.
06-27-2007, 04:49 AM   #11
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As I type this I am sitting patiently waiting while my Epson GT8300-UF (flatbed, with film scan capability) scans some medium format Velvia 50 shots.

I'll admit to being a babe in arms when it comes to scanning, so take anything I say with a huge grain of salt.

The only thing remotely useful I have to say is that I have found the bundled software to be absolute crap. I googled around and found a program called "VueScan" seems to be well thought of. I downloaded the trial version and in very short order cracked open my wallet and paid for the registered version. It has turned what had previously been a very frustrating experience with the bundled software into a much more hassle-free job, yielding what I feel to be far better results.

Your mileage may vary.
06-27-2007, 12:20 PM   #12
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I can't say one way or the other, but I have the Canon Canoscan FS4000US and it does a great job of scanning and of high quality. It is not a flatbed, its a dedicated film/slide scanner.
It is slow if you use the dust and scratch removal and if you want a bigger print then 11x14 you will need to use a drum scanner for highest quality.
It has 4000x4000 max optical resolution and up to 42bit colors.... a scan of a slide at max resolution and max color depth is around 70 MB

good luck

randy

Last edited by slip; 07-06-2007 at 09:22 AM. Reason: More information about the scanner
06-27-2007, 02:02 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Khukri Quote
Dear Mr Davis,

Thank you once again!

I need some elucudation/more spoon feeding, please...!

1. I take it the Nikon Coolscan V caters only to 35mm. And the 9000 costs a bomb! So what do I do with 67 slides?

2. "I would aim for an 8 to 10 mega pixel scan; 25-30 megabytes per file."
I am not sure I understand - Does it mean that a 8-10 MP scan converts to a 25-30MB file when saved in TIFF?

3. "Nikon has not (yet) updated the drivers, an XP operating system will be necessary on a PC."
I have a Win 2000 and find it to be a very stable OS. Is XP necessarily a better option?

4. "I also suggest (in the strongest fashion) Ed Hamrick's Vuescan Pro scanner driver ($80.00US)"
You have lost me here. I am clueless about the Vuescan driver you recommend. May I know how it will prove more useful than the proprietary driver offered by the scanner?

5. ..."much greater flexibility (especial in DR recovery)!"
What is DR recovery?

6. "RE: the Ved: You will loose some of Velvia's vibrance; recovery in post processing is marginal--very much operator skill dependent. One might consider a Velvia 'action' from somebody like Fred Miranda."
Losing Velvis's vibrancy will be a crying shame. What options are there to retain it? Maybe some other scanner? And what is Velvia action by Fred Miranda? (Again, absolutely no idea about this.)

7. "Provia scanning will be problematic in very high saturation blues and purples. "
Ah! The skies of upper Ladakh and Arunachal on the Tibetan borders are out of is world!! (Uncommon shades of blue tending to midnight purple with a polariser.) Anything you could suggest? How do I go about trying to recover the loss using Photoshop?

Sincerely,
Bharat.


Just call me "John"; I too much a little kid to be a 'mister'.

1)35mm is probably the toughest scan problem. Small size, requires incredible density to get anything approaching quality. I use the Ved for 35mm and an Epson 4990 for medium and large format. The Microtek Artixscan is a slightly less expensive medium format option to the 9000 and an excellent performer--requires a scsi card in the PC or a firewire connection. Epson also has a newer flatbed series that does 35mm, MF and larger and according to the hype it's incredible-it a Vsomething maybe V700--visit the Epson site. It cost's slightly more than the Epson 4990 but not over $1000.00US

2)You want a high optical pixel count, typically 4000 or so. Interpolation is useless. But that's not the optimal operating density nor is it necessary. For 35mm something 3500 by 2300 pixels or a bit more gets the detail one wants without introducing grain aliasing problems (the scanner actually including the film grain pattern into the scan). This is 8 mega pixels. Eight bit color density requires one byte for each of three colors for each pixel--about 25 mega bytes per file. Sixteen bit color is twice as large. You need a lossless file format, like TIFF for archiving and as feed to the photo editor. From there you can make JPEGs.

3)Win2000 is probably OK except for firewire, but it depends on your system. Win2000 drivers are available for all the devices mentioned.

4)Scanner makers make scanners. They don't do software so well. The Nikon scan software is for un-informed amateurs at best. It works, it will produce usable output, it's slow, it's cumbersome, it must be installed for the scanner drivers.

Ed Hamrick and Vuescan is the maker and that's his professional software; the choice of the experienced 'scanner user'. With Vuescan the user gets every possible control, every necessary tool, every available detail from the film and it's fast! And Ed is available to take questions, suggestions and requests.

5) I'll get slapped silly for this, but that's happened before: Scanners typically get about 4 stops of dynamic range. When the fur starts flying over the previous statement, duck! Vuescan has multi-pass ability-something like bracketing for HDR in digital. This gets the 6 2/3 stops of dynamic range present in most B&W and color film and about 85-90% of what is available in slides. It also has some other helpful tools for the same problem.

6&7) Fred Miranda is a Photoshop Guru specializing in 'Actions'. The Velvia action uses the curves dialog of photoshop to punch or kick up the colors to Velvia-like saturation levels. It's very effective.

He may also have something for enhancing Provia scans. You could search his forums for his suggestions or suggestions of other users of his plug-ins. Provia is a popular film for scanning. Straight-up the Ved gets it about 95% right on the first try. I've used many rolls of the 400ASA/ISO version to shoot high school gym sports and then scan for prints on request. A slight curves adjustment is all that I ever need to match slide to print. From your description, I doubt your subtle shades will present a problem for any scanner--they should be delightful.

Provia 'blocks-up' easily on high saturation blues and purples under artifical light or direct strobe. The kind of colors on sports uniforms, football jerseys, spandex shorts and similar. Looks like a neon light on the slide. If you don't actually see the problem on the slide, you don't have a blue/purple problem to worry about.


EDIT: Either Nikon has given Microsoft the Vista scanner drivers or Vuescan has a very good generic driver. I tried the Ved on a new Vista OS machine, the LS-50 driver loaded and I was scanning Along the road to 4TH of July Canyon Picnic/campgounds, a couple years ago, on Provia. Resized and sharpened with the PixelGenius (beta) sharpening addin for PScs3:
Attached Images
 

Last edited by jfdavis58; 06-28-2007 at 06:54 PM. Reason: Goofs
06-28-2007, 09:30 PM   #14
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Thank you very much, John, decent of you to take all this trouble.

Ditto, others too!

Will revert in due course...

Till then, the very best!
Bhaart
07-05-2007, 10:45 AM   #15
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I've read this thread with great interest, and as others, am indebted to John for taking the trouble to explain things like this.

I have about 5000 colour negatives to digitise, all 35mm in strips of 4-6, and I'm thinking of getting the Nikon Coolscan V ED.

My question is, how automated is it possible to get the process, if ultimate quality is not the issue, but absence of dust marks is a requirement?

My situation is that I have the negs, but not the prints, so I don't really know what I have, other than 20+ years of memories. Ideally, I'd like to be able to feed the machine a strip of negs every few minutes, and have it do virtually everything itself in the first instance, while I get on with my other work. And then later on, go through the image files it had produced.

I'd then go back and rescan the good ones, and spend a lot more effort getting them right.

Is this a realistic expectation?
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